Dom takes over as the New York Mets’ starting first baseman (if the universal DH is retained)
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently sent out a memo that National League teams should prepare to proceed without a DH position. However, after the experimental campaign resulted in a rare increase in baseball viewership, it feels as though MLB is trending toward an eventual universal DH.
If this rule change is adapted in 2021, the Mets will have much more flexibility with their lineup. In this scenario, New York fans can expect Alonso to begin the season as the starting first baseman. However, it is not likely this will be the case by the season’s end. I predict that Smith’s defensive consistency will allow him to supplant Alonso as the starter at some point during the season. I also project that Smith will start the most overall games at the position, leaving Alonso to man the DH spot.
Smith has been abysmal as an outfield defender. However, he has proven to be quite capable at his natural position. In fact, his -2.4 career UZR/150 metric as a 1B defender is solid. His flexibility and soft hands also lead him to very solid production at the position in 2019. Alonso, on the other hand, posted a -4.3 in 2020.
Despite reports that Alonso has spent significant time working on his glovework, the DH position would eliminate the need for him to play the field.
Smith gives the team the most consistent glove while allowing Alonso to focus solely on mashing this season. For both their sakes, let’s hope the DH is here to stay.
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